Guide Beauty: Artistry Made Easy

A new breed of beauty products that put an end to uneven eyeliner, mascara slip-ups and blotchy brows.


A Parkinson’s diagnosis sparks innovation in makeup application

Cosmetics are a $500-billion-dollar global industry, yet most products we use today still look and work the same as they did 50 years ago. The majority of advancements in the category have improved the ingredients used in makeup products, but not the tools used to apply them. As a result, traditional tools remain unforgiving and difficult for most people to use.

During her three decades as a professional makeup artist and educator, Terri Bryant had often heard these frustrations from her clients. But it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease that she experienced these challenges first-hand. She set out on a mission to create a new approach to cosmetics that would enable anyone to apply makeup with professional ease and confidence, regardless of their physical condition or makeup skillset.

And that’s where we came in.



Reimagine cosmetic tools from a user perspective

Guide Beauty was founded with a mission to reinvent makeup application in a way that makes it easier for all users – from people who think they lack the skills to apply makeup to people who have had to give up makeup due to physical limitations.

Equipped with expert insight into the mechanics of professional-level artistry and simple prototypes, Terri enlisted the help of Essential to envision a line of innovative, universally designed beauty tools that would bring her vision to life. We set out to help Guide Beauty create truly innovative tools and formulations that would change the way we apply makeup.



Participatory play and ergonomic study inspire new solutions

Essential collaborated with Terri and her Guide Beauty team to create a launch strategy focused on three key makeup applications; those that are notoriously tricky to get right: mascara, eyeliner, and eyebrows. The process was exploratory and co-creative – involving users in brainstorming activities, experimenting with both existing products and our prototypes to understand ergonomic and design preferences. The team incorporated those findings into applicator designs to create tools that could perform as an extension of the user’s hand.

Once the team had proven ergonomic solutions, the Guide Beauty team formulated complementary formulas that further enhanced the tools performance. The combination of novel applicator design plus ideal formulation put the finishing touches on a brand-new approach to makeup.





Revolutionary products with novel design features that enable increased control and stability

Helping Guide Beauty establish its brand from initial product ideation to market launch, Essential created a fresh line of beauty tools that use the principles of universal design to make it easier for anyone to create any beauty look, natural or dramatic. The products feature integrated stability points that offer users more control and ergonomic forms that are easier to hold and open.



Guide Beauty launched with three core products and packaging for mascara, brows, and eyeliner. The applicators share three novel design features that enable increased control and stability, lending to more precise makeup application:

  1. Designs that increase stability with integrated resting features and encourage a more balanced arm posture.
  2. Easier to hold handles for a more relaxed grip to maximize subtle gestures.
  3. Approachable applicator tips that reduce fear of accidental pokes and provide more visibility.



And while the products were focused on innovation and usability, we understood the importance of beauty to the overall brand experience. As such, we created an artistic, glamorous and confident identity that tapped into the essence of why we all love makeup.




Refined beauty tools and a groundbreaking launch

Guide Beauty launched in February 2020, starting a new era in cosmetics designed for inclusive and accessible beauty. The brand received rave reviews from key editors, influencers and consumers from day one at launch, and has been featured in notable publications including Allure, InStyle, and The New York Times.

Guide Beauty has also received a number of accolades for their work. The brand was selected as a winner of the iF Design Award 2021; a finalist in Fast Company‘s 2020 Innovation by Design Awards in the Fashion & Beauty, General Excellence, and Packaging categories; named a “Breakthrough” product in Allure Magazine‘s 2020 Best of Beauty Awards; awarded “Best Eyeliner” in The Oprah Magazine‘s Best Beauty Products of 2020, According to O; and recognized by Us Magazine as one of the best beauty product launches of 2020, alongside new releases from popular brands like Lancôme, Chanel, and Fenty Beauty.



“I accepted a long time ago that I’d never be able to put on eyeliner. I wasn’t happy with it, but I’d given up even trying. I bought this product on a whim not expecting much, and the first time I tried it I was able to successfully put on my eyeliner. I wanted to cry but then I would’ve messed up the makeup!”

– Allison F., Guide Beauty Customer